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COLUMBUS, Ohio, March 26 — Ground was broken today for construction of the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund (OP&) Memorial Park honoring Ohio's police officers and firefighters who have fallen in the line of duty. The Memorial Park, which will be built on the existing park site adjacent to OP&Fheadquarters at 140 E. Town St. in downtown Columbus, will be a lasting tribute to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for others.
Participating in the groundbreaking were the members of OP&F's Board of Trustees, OP&Fexecutive director William J. Estabrook and Steven L. Walker, honorary chair of the Memorial Park's corporate fundraising campaign.
"Ohio's public safety officers are the first responders to every scene of danger, and they risk their lives every day to protect citizens throughout the state," said Estabrook. "The Memorial Park will serve as a permanent tribute to the heroic contributions Ohio's police officers and firefighters make to our society."
While particularly honoring those who died in service, the park will also recognize all Ohio public safety officers, Estabrook said. Construction is expected to be completed in late fall.
The centerpiece of the park will be a commissioned sculpture cast in bronze by Ronald Dewey, a nationally respected artist based in Cleveland. Dewey has produced several sculptures around the country, including a firefighter memorial for the City of Euclid, Ohio. A rendering of the sculpture is available on OP&'s website.
The Memorial Park is being built entirely with private donations raised by the Ohio Police and Fire Memorial Park, a tax-exempt non-profit organization. OP&'s goal is to raise at least $325,000. More than $100,000 in donations from corporate sponsors has already been received.
Individuals or organizations can recognize Ohio police officers and firefighters by purchasing a brick paver or a park bench that will be permanently placed in the park in their honor. The cost for an inscription on a 4"x 8" brick paver is $75. A 12"x 12" brick paver is $500, and a bench can be purchased for $5,000. More information is available by calling 1-888-864-8363 or by visiting OP&'s website at www.op-f.org.
Created in 1965 by the Ohio General Assembly, OP&F provides pension, disability, survivor, and health care benefits to full-time police officers and firefighters in Ohio.
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Contact: Dave Graham (614) 628-8396, firstname.lastname@example.org